Forest Hill Cemetery owner charged with theft of $20 million

The Mid-South man at the center of a cemetery controversy was indicted on theft and money laundering charges Friday.

Clayton Smart is accused of stealing millions of dollars from trust funds at Forest Hill Funeral Home.

It was a number of agencies working together to bring former Forest Hills Cemetary owner, Clayton Smart, to justice in the ongoing cemetery controversy

Smart along with two co-defendants will now face a judge in Memphis.

It's a press conference Shelby County District Attorney, Bill Gibbons has been looking forward to for months.

"This is a very very serious crime. It involves over 13,000 victims in our community and we're going to do everything we can to hold Mr. Smart and the other defendants accountable for what they've done," said Gibbons

Smart along with Stephen Smith and Mark Singer are accused of stealing millions of dollars in trust funds set up to fund some 13,000 pre-paid funerals.

Attorney Max Shelton, who's been appointed to oversee the operations for Forest Hill, says they've recovered $9 million.

Shelton says he's confident that money will help the families who were scammed.

"They have determined they can honor all the previous contracts all of them in full that includes cemetary money," said Shelton.

Shelton says there is still $20 million unaccounted for. They are working on finding the money.

Now, Smart also faces charges in Michigan for embezzling up to $70 million from cemetary trust funds.

So, it's uncertain exactly when Smart will be in a Memphis courtroom.

Gibbons adds, "we don't know at this point if Mr. Smart will first be coming here or going to Michigan first.

Smart and Smith are in jail in Oklahoma. Singer is in custody in Pennsylvania.


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